Monthly Archives: April 2016

Ditch the Carrot and the Stick

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How many times have we heard the motivational method of using a carrot and a stick? First of all, the proverbial stick was never a motivator and only caused fear in the workplace. Today, a long-term incentive of the carrot dangled in front of you only causes frustration and a quick loss of interest.

We are in an instant gratification age where fear drives employees away and frustration sets in quickly.

So how is the best way to motivate employees today? It’s not the carrot and the stick that is for sure.

Today’s employees expect to be involved. They aren’t looking for some future payoff, they want opportunity to prove themselves immediately, so they can demonstrate their skills and open up the career ladder right now. What’s not to like in this scenario?

Incorporate employees into solving problems. Anyone can be the complainer but asking them to also provide solutions to the problems they see engages them; provided they know you are sincerely going to listen to their ideas. This is an opportunity for that immediate win/win. The employee is engaged, offering solutions, being involved and the company benefits from improvements.

Take this to the next level. Do you have a prospect you want to land? Do you want to offer a new promotion for one of your products? Invite your employees to offer fresh ideas. Businesses will benefit from the influx of new methods and ideas in this every-changing economy. Obviously, not every new idea offered is going to be a winner, but getting the idea machine working and employees engaged will no doubt prove to be a huge benefit and motivation for those choosing to be involved.

The right employees in the right situation, when given the opportunity, will produce great results.

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Focus on Strengths

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In this country we love to nitpick decisions. In fact, with social media, we have become experts at finding the negative and make it a trending topic. Frankly, I think we spend too much time focusing on what went wrong instead of what went right.
As a leader, when you focus on weaknesses, you force people to look for excuses, create spin control on their mistakes, and out-right cover up problems. How does this improve an organization?

People are no doubt fallible, but when you focus on a person’s real strengths, they feel comfortable being more real and build their own confidence in who they are. A work environment where leaders focus on strengths means leaders have less fear of cover-ups and having to dig through messages to find the real truth. When an employee knows the boss focuses on what she does well, she will be less likely to disguise her weaknesses and actually be more open to constructive feedback in order to grow.

Everyone has gaps in their skill sets, but everyone also has a set of strengths where they make meaningful contributions to the success of the organization. Concentrate on how to maximize those strengths and how best to use them for the benefit of the individual and the business.

Don’t be afraid to create unique job task combinations to appeal to strengths and minimize weaknesses.

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